Editor’s note: Marah is still in Damascus, but her editors at Syria Deeply just sent us this entry, which she wrote before she left.

Tomorrow my dreams will come true. I will bid my family farewell, leave my hometown, and head to Damascus, the capital of Syria, to sit for my high school final exams.

I’m happy and scared at the same time. The fear is overwhelming! I will have to go through two checkpoints, where I will be searched and asked for my identification papers. Supposing I’m able to pass safely through the checkpoints, the next step will be to go to the home of some of my relatives, with whom I’ll be staying. How will life be with them? I don’t know them super well, and this will be my first time staying at their house. Will I feel comfortable?

I’m currently studying as much as I can. But the harsh living conditions here and regular power outages don’t always allow me to study well.

I often wonder if I will be able to fulfill my bigger dreams, and whether I am worthy of them. My mother’s happiness hinges on my success. She has worked herself to the bone to get me to where I am today. She smiles at me, but I know she’s even more confused and scared than I am. She tries to reassure me, but I know that she’s worried. I can tell she’s heartbroken to see me leave home. I will miss hearing her voice.

What if I don’t make it back? What I never see my siblings—two sisters and a little brother—again? I am not ready to face the possibility of losing them. I’m a bundle of nerves. I always blamed my mother for not letting me continue my studies in our hometown, but right now, I am wishing she would stop me from getting on the road to Damascus.

I wonder what fate has in store for me. Will it smile at me? For the first time in the two months since I started this diary, I’m writing it with a shaky hand and teary eyes. ♦

Marah’s diary is produced in collaboration with Syria Deeply, a digital news outlet covering the Syrian crisis. It was translated from the Arabic by Mais Istanbelli.